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Activism Healthy Living Kids & Family Real Food Toxin Alert!

Happy Non-GMO Holidays + My Interview with Leslie Stoddard, Co-founder of GMO-Free Idaho

www.mypicshares.com

I received this message in my e-mail box today from The Center for Food Safety, and I wanted to share it with my readers. Holiday time means people are buying more food and other products than any other time of year.

This year, I want to challenge my readers to commit to going GMO-free for the holidays (next step, make it a part of your regular habits after the holidays too). Please read this valuable information from CFS and my commentary in italics.  

Then, please take a few minutes and watch me being interviewed by my friend Leslie Stoddard who co-founded GMO-free Idaho with Jenny Easley. I am so excited about the important work these two women are doing, and I’ll do everything I can to support their efforts and work alongside them. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and may it be filled with blessings, health, real food, and lots of time with friends and family.
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Thanksgiving is the time of year when we gather with friends and family and reflect upon all the things we are thankful for in our lives. Of course, no good celebration is complete without sharing it over a good meal. But many popular Thanksgiving dishes may use ingredients that have been genetically engineered. Here are 5 simple tips to try to avoid these unlabeled, unwanted guests:

  1. If you’re eating turkey, try to buy it organic so it hasn’t been given genetically engineered feed. For you Tofurky fans, Tofurky sources non-GMO ingredients.
     
    Go one step further and buy your turkey locally from a sustainable farmer that pasture-raises their turkeys and if they supplement, make sure the feed is non-GMO and soy and corn-free. Soy and corn in feed can diminish the nutritional value of poultry meat, and cause food allergies, organic or not, and interfere with hormones in those who eat the meat. See the section below on soy. Tofurky is not real food, its an engineered product that the body doesn’t know how to absorb – organic or not. AVOID at all costs. Real meat and fat is important for health.
  2. Look out for the Big 5. These are the ingredients most likely to be genetically-engineered. You’ll find them primarily in prepared, packaged and canned foods like stuffing mix, oils, prepared desserts, and canned cranberry sauces.

    Corn

    • Corn flour, meal, oil, starch, gluten, and syrup
    • Sweeteners such as fructose, dextrose, and glucose
    • Modified food starch

    Soy

    • Soy flour, lecithin, protein, isolate, and isoflavone
    • Vegetable oil and vegetable protein
    From a real food standpoint, soy is unhealthy to consume unless traditionally prepared through fermentation. So I avoid soy as much as possible unless it’s naturally fermented soy sauce or miso soup. I don’t care for tofu, so I don’t ever buy it. I might eat it if I know it’s been properly fermented, but I avoid all products with soy in them like the plague, and especially since it is hormone altering (thyroid, thymus, hypothalamus), contains phytic acid which inhibits the uptake of various nutrients including minerals, and contains phytoestrogens which also alter our hormonal state. 

    Canola

    • Canola oil (also called rapeseed oil)

    Cotton
    Cottonseed oil

    There is never any reason to consume vegetable oil, organic or not. These are modern oils our body cannot process. They are created by the food industry, are fragile and become denatured during the cooking process, and even before they are stocked on the grocery store shelf, they have been deodorized and subjected to high-heat temperatures. Read this post about how cottonseed oil was originally created, and just how pervasive it is in our food supply. These oils also contain Omega 6s, one of the elements our Standard American Diet is too plentiful in, and which contribute to inflammation and disease in the body (i.e., heart disease, cancer, and obesity). 

    Sugar

    • Unless 100% cane sugar or evaporated cane sugar, sugar may be produced from sugar beets which may be genetically engineered.
    Instead of sugar, opt for healthy, unrefined sweeteners such as Rapadura, sucanat, coconut date sugar, maple sugar, real maple syrup – B grade, real Stevia (the green variety, not white powdered), and raw honey.  These sweeteners, especially if organic, are non-GMO and contain important trace nutrients and minerals, left intact due to their low-processed state. 
  3. Look for products labeled “USDA Organic,” or labeled as “Non-GMO.” Certified organic products are not allowed to be produced using GMOs.

    Go one step further and buy as much as you can from local, sustainable farmers. Here’s a post about what types of questions to ask your farmer when buying food. USDA organic labels are not always reliable, and because of labeling laws becoming less stringent more “fuzzy”, you may end up buying something containing something you don’t want that’s not even showing on the label. 

  4. Look for dairy products (milk, cream, butter) labeled “rbGH-free,” “rbST-free” or “USDA Organic,” as they are not produced with genetically-engineered, artificial growth hormones.
     
    Go several steps further and buy local, sustainable milk – raw is best because it retains all the important beneficial bacteria (probiotics), enzymes, and nutritional value since the milk is not heated – from healthy cows on pasture. Many commercial milks, even organic, still come from cows in confinement and from animals fed a large majority of their diets in soy, corn, and grain. Cattle are ruminants and are meant to consume grass as they have long digestive tracts designed to process grass. When they are fed other substances like corn, soy, and grain, the result is an acidic digestive tract and overall health. They become sick and then farmers administer antibiotics and other harmful drugs which alter their health and the quality of the milk. 
  5. Look for products in our True Food Shoppers Guide. You can download a .pdf for free, or as a free app for your iPhone or Android mobile phone.

Other action steps to take: 

  1. Tell FDA to label GE foods! The Center for Food Safety recently filed a formal legal petition with FDA demanding that the agency require the labeling of genetically engineered foods. Now, we are spearheading a drive with over 350 other organizations and businesses in the Just Label It! Campaign, to direct one million comments to the FDA in support of our petition.
     
    An ABC News poll found that 93 percent of the American public wants the federal government to require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods. As ABC News stated, “Such near-unanimity in public opinion is rare.” Yet the United States is one of the only countries in the world that doesn’t require labeling of GE food!

    In my opinion, mandatory labeling doesn’t solve the inherent problem of GMOs polluting our earth, but it gets consumer awareness up. We need this because currently, most people I have talked to about GMOs either have no idea or don’t think it’s an issue. This is scary. Once mandatory labeling becomes a law, we can work toward the next goal which is banning GMOs from our food supply all together – what many European countries have already done and what we should have done years ago. 

    In the U.S., we pride ourselves on having choices and making informed decisions. Under current FDA regulations, we don’t have that choice when it comes to GE ingredients in the foods we purchase and feed our families. Send your comment to FDA demanding mandatory labeling of GE foods today!

  2. If you are fortunate enough to be able to share the holiday abundance, please consider donating to a local Food bank, or volunteering some time on Thanksgiving to help those less fortunate. If you don’t know where your local food bank or soup kitchen program is check Volunteer Match by typing in your zip code and “Thanksgiving” for a list of Thanksgiving volunteer opportunities near you.

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Here’s the video interview with Leslie Stoddard of GMO-free Idaho. The purpose of this interview was to spread the news about GMOs to our community and beyond, and to help people understand that avoiding GMOs is not only possible but critical to our health and the environment, and the success of the sustainable food community – an effort that may well be one of the most important things you’ll ever do. Here’s Part I and Part II:

GMO-Free Idaho Interview Part 1

GMO-Free Idaho Interview Part 2

Busting myths about GMOs
Stop the use of GMOs in our food supply
The Institute for Responsible Technology – providing research and education to consumers who want to make educated decisions about what they eat

Activism Green Living Healthy Living Real Food Toxin Alert!

Busting Myths About GMOs (Genetically-Modified Foods)

www.mypicshares.com

The cost of food is skyrocketing, and it is affecting not just people shopping at grocery stores, but those all over the world in third-world countries as well. In the midst of all the news about rising food prices, companies like Monsanto are using their P.R. muscle to convince everyone that genetically-modified foods will be our solution to “feed the world”.

Both the food industry and the FDA continue to make claims that genetically modified (GM) foods are safe to consume, have undergone proper testing, and are essential to feed a growing planet. All of these claims are false. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are a radical alteration to the way we produce and consume food. The majority of genetically-modified substances are unregulated ingredients, and those can be identified in 60-70% of the foods grown in the U.S.

It is the intent of the food industry and the FDA to convince consumers that these substances have been approved through thorough long-term testing and studies. However, there exists absolutely no real testing standards or requirements. “Research” supporting their claims about the safety of these substances comes from the companies themselves. Monsanto emphatically claims through their own “non-biased” testing that GM foods are safe, and the type of testing done is intended to avoid revealing the inherent problems of these foods. Read more about the non-existent regulation or testing on Dr. Mercola’s site.

Our food buying habits have a tremendous impact on our food system. The more we support sustainable farmers, the more we will send a message to those producing foods that are not sustainable that we don’t want these substances in our food supply.

Watch this important video interview with Dr. Don M. Huber, Professor and plant pathologist from Purdue University, discussing the discovery of a pathogenic bacteria in GM crops which poses a threat to plant, animal, & human health


Ten commonly forwarded myths or ideologies about genetically-modified foods and the truth about their impact on the planet*:

1. GMO foods won’t solve the food crisis.

A 2008 World Food Bank report concluded that increased biofuel production is the major cause of the increase in food prices. GM giant Monsanto has been at the heart of lobbying for biofuels (crops grown for fuel rather than food) – while profiting enormously from the resulting food crisis and using it as a PR opportunity to promote GM foods!

“The climate crisis was used to boost biofuels, helping to create the food crisis: and now the food crisis is being used to revive the fortunes of the GM industry,” writes Daniel Howden, Africa correspondent of The Independent.

Professor Denis Murphy, head of biotechnology at the University of Glamorgan in Wales, had this to say about the issue: “The cynic in me thinks that they’re just using the current food crisis and the fuel crisis as a springboard to push GM crops back on to the public agenda. I understand why they’re doing it, but the danger is that if they’re making these claims about GM crops solving the problem of drought or feeding the world, that’s B.S.”

2.  Genetically-modified crops do not produce yield potential.

Despite the promises, GM has not increased the yield potential of any commercialized crops. In fact, studies show that the most widely grown GM crop, GM soya, has suffered reduced yields.

A report that analyzed nearly two decades worth of peer-reviewed research on the yield of the primary GM food/feed crops, soybeans and corn (maize), reveals that despite 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase crop yields in the U.S. EPA and U.S. FDA biotech specialist Dr. Doug Gurian-Sherman, concludes that when it comes to yield, “Traditional breeding outperforms genetic engineering hands down.”

“Let’s be clear,” he wrote in 2008. “As of this year, there are currently no commercialized GM crops that inherently increase yield. Similarly, there are no GM crops on the market that were engineered to resist drought, reduce fertilizer pollution or save soil. Not one.”

3. GM crops increase pesticide use.

Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that in the States, GM crops have produced an overall increase, not decrease, in pesticide use compared to conventional crops.

“The promise was that you could use less chemicals and produce a greater yield,” writes Bill Christison, president of the U.S. National Family Farm Coalition. “But let me tell you, none of this is true.”

4.  There are better ways to feed the world.

A major UN/World-Bank sponsored report compiled by 400 scientists and endorsed by 58 countries concluded that GM crops have little to offer global agriculture and the challenges of poverty, hunger, and climate change, because better alternatives are available. In particular, the report championed “agroecological” farming as the sustainable way forward for developing countries.

5.  Other farm technologies are more successful than GM farming.

Integrated Pest Management and other innovative low-input or organic methods of controlling pests and boosting yields have proven highly effective, particularly in the developing world. Other plant breeding techonlogies, such as Marker Assisted Selection (non-GMO mapping), are widely expected to boost global agricultural productivity more effectively and safely than GM.

“The quiet revolution is happening in gene mapping, helping us to understand crops better,” writes Professor John Snape, head of the department of crop genetics at the John Innes Center. “That is up and running and could have a far greater impact on agriculture [thah GM].”

6. Genetically-modified foods have not been shown to be safe to eat.

Genetic modification is a crude and imprecise way of incorporating foreign genetic material (e.g. from viruses and bacteria) into crops, with unpredictable consequences. The resulting GM foods have undergone little rigorous and no long-term safety testing, but some animal feeding tests have shown worrisome health effects. Only one study has been published on the direct effects on humans of eating a GM food. It found unexpected effects on gut bacteria, but was never followed up. (Fore more information on the effects of GM food on health, visit Seeds of Deception).

Advocates claim that Americans have eaten GM foods for years with no ill-effects. But these foods are unlabeled in the U.S. and no one has monitored the consequences. With other novel foods like trans fats, it has taken decades to realize that they have caused millions of premature deaths. “We are confronted with the most powerful technology the world has ever known, and it is being rapidly deployed with almost no thought whatsoever to its consequences,” writes Dr. Suzanne Wuerthele, a toxicologist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

7. Stealth GMOs are used in animal feed – without consumers’ consent.

Meat, eggs, and dairy products from animals raised on the millions of tons of GM feed imported into Europe do not have to be labeled. Some studies show that, contrary to GM and food industry claims, animals raised on GM feed are different from those raised on non-GM feed. Other studies show that if GM crops are fed to animals, GM material can appear in the resulting products and that the animals’ health can be affected. Eating “stealth GMOs” may affect the health of consumers.

8. GM crops are long-term economic disaster for farmers.

A 2009 report showed that GM seed prices in America have increased dramatically, compared to non-GM and organic seeds, cutting average farm incomes for U.S. farmers growing GM crops. The report concluded, “At the present time there is a massive disconnect between the sometimes lofty rhetoric from those championing biotechnology as the proven path toward global food security and what is actually happening on farms in the U.S. that have grown dependent on GM seeds and are now dealing with the consequences.”

9. GM and non-GM cannot coexist.

GM contamination of conventional and organic food is increasing. An unapproved GM rice that was grown for only one year in field trials was found to have extensively contaminated the U.S. rice supply and seed stocks. In Canada, the organic canola industry has been destroyed by contamination from GM canola. In Spain, a study found that GM maize “has caused a drastic reduction in organic cultivations of this grain and is making their co-existence practically impossible.”
The time has come to choose between GM-based and a non-GM based world food supply.

“If some people are allowed to choose to grow, sell, and consume GM foods, soon nobody will be able to choose food, or a biosphere, free from GM.” Roger Levett, a specialist in sustainable development, writes. “It’s a one-way choice, like the introduction of rabbits or cane toads to Australia, once it’s made, it can’t be reversed.”

10. We can’t trust GM companies.

The big biotech firms pushing their GM foods have a terrible history of toxic contamination and public deception. GM is attractive to them because it gives them patents that allow monopoly control over the world’s food supply. They have taken to harassing and intimidating small farmers for the “crime” of saving patented seed or “stealing” patented genes – even if those seeds got into the farmer’s fields by accidental contamination by wind or insects.

Tom Wiley, a North Dakota farmer, explained the situation in a 2004 news story: “Farmers are being sued for having GMOs on their property that they did not buy, do not want, will not use, and cannot sell.”

*Source: GM Watch

These companies could still make profits by producing biofuel crops that are not harmful to the entire planet, and are sustainably-produced. The Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance believes GMOs should be avoided in producing biofuel, and that if they are used they should be labeled. And this article from Renewable Energy World discusses how possible it is to produce non-GMO algae for producing biofuels as well. Ban GM Foods has many examples of non-GM successes in technology that do not involve the use of GM which clearly has many uncertainties and risks.

For more information:

Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund site and learn about the lawsuit over Monsanto seed.

Monsanto GM Corn Causing Organ Failure in Rats

The World According to Monsanto – ground-breaking film by French film maker Marie Monique Robin about the hostile takeover Monsanto has executed over the agricultural world.

Non-GMO Shopping Guide